Dates and Venue March 26 - 28, 2015 at 8pm | Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Choreography Wlliam Forsythe(workwithinwork); Walter Matteini (Lascia ch'io pianga); Medhi Walerski( Petite Cérémonie)

Reviewer John Jane

Ballet BC’s Trace is a fantastic triple bill of extremely diverse works commencing with the epic William Forsythe oeuvre workwithinwork, continuing with the brand new Lascia ch'io pianga by Walter Matteini and concluding with a farewell performance of audience favourite Petite Cérémonie from French choreographer Medhi Walerski.

William Forsythe has hardly been renowned for accessibility, however, his 1998 workwithinwork might be considered to be one of his more accessible. Forsythe’s choreography is set to a selection of Luciano Berio’s Duetti per due violini (Duets for Two Violins) whose harsh rhythms barely seems to keep pace with the dancers fluid movement. Fifteen dancers appear, and then disappear in brief solos, duets and ensemble groups. Dressed in simple athletic wear that seemed appropriate for the exacting and complex dance vocabulary, dancers feed off each other with protracted, articulated syntax.

The title Lascia ch'io pianga (let me weep) is taken from an Italian-language aria for soprano voice composed by George Frideric Handel for his opera Rinaldo. The music is actually used in the work but the audience must wait through four previous selections to hear it, including excerpts from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Al santo sepolcro.

Choreographed for nine dancers, the work is edgy, yet with a poignant narrative that explores the light and dark aspects of human nature. Exquisitely surreal details evoke stark reality juxtaposed with playfulness. Gilbert Small displays gentle strength in a pas de deux with his technically gifted partner Emily Chessa. It ends with a lone dancer (Emily Chessa) quietly exiting the stage.

Part theatre, part dance, Medhi Walerski’s Petite Cérémonie doesn’t have the intricate syntax of the first two pieces, though what it lacks in complexity, it certainly makes up for in entertainment. Fifteen dancers individually take their place on stage, many approaching through the auditorium from the lobby. Walerski has compiled an eclectic selection of music that includes Rogers and Hart’s “Blue Moon” to serve his brilliant formation choreography that explores the difference between men and women’s thought processes – among other things.

Since Emily Molnar’s appointment as artistic director five years ago, Ballet BC’s ranking as one of the better contemporary ballet companies has been restored.

© 2015 John Jane